Keeping guinea pigs as a household pet has drastically increased in popularity over the last few years with families looking to add a guinea pig to their household seeing almost exponential growth over the last three years or so. As you can probably guess, with such a large increase in first-time guinea pig owners, we have also seen a direct increase in the number of people reaching out and asking various questions on how they are best able to care for their guinea pigs.
The vast majority of questions that we see asked each month are based around getting the best food for guinea pigs to ensure that their pet guinea pig is able to live a long and healthy life. Although there are an absolute ton of suitable commercial guinea pig food products on the market, treating your guinea pig to break up the monotony of their diet is commonplace. This is where we see a bunch of questions based around “What can guinea pigs eat?” and one question that we have seen asked with increased frequency over the last few months is based around “Can guinea pigs eat oranges?“.
Without going any further into the article, we just want to quickly confirm that guinea pigs can eat orange as part of a balanced diet and it makes an excellent treat for many guinea pigs. Supplementing your regular guinea pigs food intake with orange can be a great way to add in a great source of vitamin c too while also offering some solid sugar content that is fruit based rather than hay-based like the majority of commercial guinea pig foods on the market. That said though, many guinea pigs simply do not enjoy the taste of oranges due to the sharp taste and many guinea pigs will simply ignore them unless it is the only food source provided.
That said though, some guinea pigs do absolutely love oranges and will wolf them down without so much as a second thought with oranges being one of the best immune system boosting foods that your pet guinea pigs eat. Some guinea pig owners will tend to add orange to their guinea pigs diet during the winter months when it is colder to try boost the fruit based vitamin C content in their diet to help keep their immune systems as strong as possible.
On top of that though, regularly adding oranges as a part of the regular diet that your guinea pigs eat offers you a ton of additional benefits too. Due to this, we are now going to be taking a more in-depth look at the benefits that oranges offer your guinea pigs when added as a treat in addition to being an excellent source of vitamin C and fruit based sugar.
Vitamin And Mineral Content Of Oranges
Being one of the most popular fruit and vegetable options around the world for humans, there has been an absolute ton of research into the actual nutritional profile of oranges and the majority of the research is directly transferable to your pet guinea pig and the food that it can eat. Although oranges are not nutritionally complete, they do offer an absolute ton of vitamins and minerals that are essential for guinea pigs and although you are able to get most of them from other food sources, some guinea pigs definitely seem to love the taste of oranges making them a quick and easy option.
When it comes to the vitamin side of things, oranges are abundant in the following vitamins with a solid amount of each:-
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
- Various essential B Vitamins
- Pantothenic Acid
When it comes to the mineral side of things, oranges have a varied amount of the following:-
On top of this, the fruit based sugar in oranges is an excellent source of energy for your pet guinea pig too and can definitely make a nice change from the sugar that is found in the hay based commercial foods too. Oranges offer a large amount of sugar too and is likely one of the main reasons that many guinea pigs enjoy having oranges as a part of their diet and as a treat to add variety to the food that they eat.
How Much Orange Can I Give My Guinea Pig?
Once we answer the initial question of “Can guinea pigs eat oranges?” the next thing that we see asked is usually based around the actual amount of orange that you should offer your pet guinea pig. Unfortunately, many guinea pigs will try and eat anything that you offer them and although they will stop eating eventually, this is usually when they have over ate making it seem like you are offering your guinea pig just the right amount of orange when in fact it is just your guinea pig being greedy.
The age of your pet guinea pig is also going to come into play with this as a young one will not be able to have as much orange as an older one due to the spike in blood sugar. That said though, you can usually offer your pet guinea pigs around a sixth of regular-sized oranges if they are an adult and a baby around a sixteenth without issue. We basically cut the oranges into six initial pieces and then cut it in half again across the middle of the fruit to get the sixteenth serving size recommended for juvenile guinea pigs creating multiple portions with ease if you have multiple piggies.
As we mentioned earlier, some guinea pigs don’t even enjoy the taste of orange likely due to the citrus taste being too sharp for them or them not being a fan of fruit based sugar with them preferring something else to eat. This is relatively common and if your guinea pig is not a fan of oranges then this is nothing to worry about as there are plenty of other fruit and vegetables that you can use as a supplement for their diet that they will likely prefer to eat over oranges anyway.
If this is the case for your pet guinea pig then other popular fruit options include apples and grapes with vegetable options including spinach, broccoli, and carrots. That said though, the majority of guinea pigs do seem to enjoy the taste of fruit based treats over vegetable-based treats and will often eat the fruits and leave the veggies if both options are offered.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Orange Skin?
Another very common question that we often see asked after the initial “Can guinea pigs eat oranges?” question is usually based around if your pet guinea pigs can eat the skin of any oranges you offer them or not. Now, although very small amounts of the peel of the oranges can be offered to your pet guinea pigs, the vast majority of guinea pigs will tend to not eat it anyway. Even if your guinea pig does enjoy the taste of the actual fruit of the oranges you offer them, it is extremely common for guinea pigs to feel the texture of the orange skin and decide that it is not for them.
Although this can be common with other fruit based treats too, particularly apple and the apple skin, most guinea pigs will still likely eat the skin on an apple where the majority of guinea pigs will tend to leave the skin of an orange. This can work to your advantage though as too much orange peel in your guinea pigs diet can end up leading to some negative digestive effects such as diarrhea anyway. If you are in a rush this usually means that you can throw a fruit based orange treat in with your guinea pigs meal and leave it without having to worry about it eating all of the orange peel after it has eaten the actual orange.
Some guinea pig owners will take the extra time to actually cut the skin off the orange and any other fruit they offer their guinea pigs and although this is fine, it can be a fiddly task and take up time that could be better spent elsewhere when there is only a minimal chance that your guinea pig will eat the orange peel anyway. This will come down to your own personal preferences though and how you want to feed your pet guinea pig.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Citrus Fruit?
Another popular follow-up question that we see after the initial “Can guinea pigs eat orange?” is based around them having other types of citrus fruit too. This will come down to your pet guinea pigs own personal preferences for the food that it eats but most guinea pigs will refuse other citrus-based fruits such as lemons anyway making it an easy decision for you.
The palate of the average guinea pig is pretty delicate when compared to many other popular household pets with citrus being pretty hit and miss with them. As we mentioned, it is very common for a guinea pig not to enjoy the milder taste of orange never mind the stronger citrus options out there.
Get The Fiber In Their Diet
The average orange is around two and a half percent fiber making oranges a great treat to help increase the fiber intake of your guinea pig. With constipation and impaction being relatively common amongst guinea pigs, keeping their daily fiber intake up can help minimize the risk of either of these issues occurring in your guinea pig. Although the actual orange peels do contain a large amount of fiber too, as we covered earlier in the article, most guinea pigs will not touch the peel of an orange.
Although ensuring that your pet guinea pig has plenty of fiber in their diet can help to minimize the risks of impaction and constipation, they do not offer a guarantee. If you do suspect that any of your guinea pig may be suffering from either of these issues then we would highly recommend that you seek advice from your local veterinarian as soon as possible. Impaction in particular can be a serious problem for guinea pigs and needs professional assistance as soon as possible.
We hope that our readers have found this article helpful and now understand the benefits of offering your pet guinea pig orange as a treat as part of a wider, well-rounded diet. Oranges offer some excellent health benefits that can be a pain to source from other fruits and vegetables, mainly the high amounts of vitamin C making it well worth trying your piggy with some orange at least once to see if it enjoys the taste or not.
That said though, we would only really recommend that our readers offer oranges to their guinea pigs once or maybe twice per week while using some of the other treats that we have suggested throughout the article on the off days to try and keep everything as balanced as possible. As the saying goes, too much of a good thing can actually end up being bad and there are plenty of fruits and vegetables that guinea pigs will love to have in their diet to help offer that well rounded nutritional profile for a long and healthy life.